This image has been sourced from online.
y Sarah Thornhill single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 Sarah Thornhill
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Sarah Thornhill is the youngest child of William Thornhill, convict-turned-landowner on the Hawkesbury River. She grows up in the fine house her father is so proud of, a strong-willed young woman who's certain where her future lies. She's known Jack Langland since she was a child, and always loved him. But the past is waiting in ambush with its dark legacy. There's a secret in Sarah's family, a piece of the past kept hidden from the world and from her. A secret Jack can't live with... ' (Trove record)

Teaching Resources

This work has teaching resources.


  • Dedication: This novel is dedicated to the memory of Sophia Wiseman and Maryanne Wiseman, and their mother, 'Rugig'.
  • Epigraph: It does not follow that because a mountain appears to take on different shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively no shape at all or an infinity of shapes. E. H. Carr.
  • Sequel to The Secret River.
  • Other formats: Also sound recording.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2011 .
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 307p.
      • Published August 29th 2011
      ISBN: 9781921758621, 1921758627
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin Books , 2014 .
      Image courtesy of Penguin Books
      Extent: 320p.
      • Published: 26/02/2014
      ISBN: 9781922079107, 1922079103
Alternative title: La vida de Sarah Thornhill
Language: Spanish
    • Madrid,
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Alevosía ,
      2014 .
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 270p.p.
      ISBN: 9788415608684, 8415608683

Works about this Work

Telling Stories of Colonial Encounters: Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, The Lieutenant and Sarah Thornhill Annalisa Pes , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Postcolonial Text , vol. 11 no. 2 2016;
'The essay examines the fundamental role of storytelling in the different colonial encounters portrayed by Kate Grenville in her historical-based trilogy: The Secret River (2005), The Lieutenant (2008) and Sarah Thornhill (2011). Starting from Grenville’s assertion that the clash between settlers and Aborigines originated mainly from the “tragic inability to communicate across a gulf of culture,” the essay observes how in the three novels communication and, conversely, incommunicability and miscommunication, both between Europeans (or, later, white Australians) and Indigenous Australians and among Europeans themselves, play a fundamental role in establishing, or failing to establish, relationships and in creating, or in trying to solve, conflicts. The importance of storytelling is investigated in its function of (re)definition of identity and as a necessary step in the process of reconciliation.'
y Cultural Memory and Literature : Re-imagining Australia's Past Diane Molloy , Leiden : Brill , 2015 11024641 2015 multi chapter work criticism

'Cultural memory involves a community shared memories, the selection of which is based on current political and social needs. A past that is significant to a national group is re-imagined by generating new meanings that replace earlier certainties and fixed symbols or myths. This creates literary syncretisms with moments of undecidability. The analysis in this book draws on Renate Lachmann theory of intertextuality to show how novels that blur boundaries without standing in for history are prone to intervene in cultural memory. A brief overview of Aboriginal politics between the 1920s and the 1990s in relation to several novels provides historical and political background to the links between, and problems associated with, cultural memory, testimony, trauma, and Stolen Generations narratives, which are discussed in relation to Sally Morgan My Place and Doris Pilkington Rabbit-Proof Fence. There follows an analysis of novels that respond to the history of contact between Aboriginal and settler Australians, including Kate Grenville historical novels The Secret River, The Lieutenant, and Sarah Thornhill as examples of a traditional approach. David Malouf Remembering Babylon charts how language and naming defined our early national narrative that excluded Aboriginal people. Intertextuality is explored via the relation between Thea Astley The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, Chloe Hooper The Tall Man, and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Kim Scott Benang: from the heart and That Deadman Dance and Alexis Wright Carpentaria reflect a number of Lachmann concepts, syncretism, dialogism, polyphony, Menippean satire, and the carnivalesque.' (Publication summary)

Cannibalism and Colonialism : Lilian's Story and (White) Women's Belonging Laura Deane , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 3 2014;

'In 1985, when Kate Grenville’s novel about a fat, unlovely bag lady appeared on the Australian literary landscape, Lilian’s Story was celebrated as a feminist and postcolonial text. By locating Lilian as ex-centric to the nation, to inhabit the abjected zones of the colony—the bush, the asylum, the streets of post-Federation Sydney—Grenville is commonly read as a feminist writer intervening into the gender politics that shaped Australia. Feminists celebrate the ways in which she carves out discursive spaces for women who have existed largely in the interstices between public memory and official history. Postcolonial critical interpretations of Lilian being ‘colonised’ by her father, provoked by the rape narrative, have tended to reproduce the postcolonial trope of Australia’s shift from a colonial relationship to a national structure. Such readings largely neglect the colonial violence of Australian patriarchy, and the skewed gender norms that result when a host culture is transplanted to an imperial outpost. Taking up the colonial metaphor structuring the relationship between Lilian and her father, I read Lilian’s ‘madness’ as a response to discourses of ‘race’ and gender that circulate in the colonial Imaginary to position women as the site for racial anxiety about colonial ‘dirt’, contamination and disorder. While Lilian approaches the rebellious female grotesque celebrated in postcolonial feminist theorising, her obese body also signifies the devouring nature of colonialism. This paper engages with the white politics of women’s ‘belonging’ inscribed in Lilian’s Story to disinter the schizoid nature of white women’s relationship to colonial patriarchy.' (Publication abstract)

The Strangeness of the Dance : Kate Grenville, Rohan Wilson, Inga Clendinnen and Kim Scott Alison Ravenscroft , 2014 criticism
— Appears in: Meanjin , Spring vol. 72 no. 4 2014; (p. 64-73)
'Alison Ravenscroft on the strange forms Indigenous history has taken in recent Australian fiction.'
[Review Essay] Sarah Thornhill Bronwyn Lacken , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 7 no. 2 2013;

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
Secrets and Schisms Diane Stubbings , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 27 August 2011; (p. 25)

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
A River Runs through It A. P. Riemer , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27-28 August 2011; (p. 34-35)

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
Personal History Stella Clarke , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 27-28 August 2011; (p. 18-19)

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
Digging Up Our Dirty Secrets Blanche Clark , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 27 - 28 August 2011; (p. 18-19)

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
Guilt-Edged View of Our Racial History Peter Craven , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 3 September 2011; (p. 24-25)

— Review of Sarah Thornhill Kate Grenville 2011 single work novel
Fact and Fiction Sally Pryor , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 27 August 2011; (p. 6-7)
Less Friction, It's Fiction Claire Williams , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The West Australian , 30 August 2011; (p. 7)
Miles Franklin Longlist Has Room for Both Genders Susan Wyndham , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 29 March 2012; (p. 5)
On to a Winner Marc McEvoy , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 24 June 2012; (p. 19)
Skewed History enthrals; Raising the Dead: History and Fiction Deborah Bogle , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 7 March 2012; (p. 54)
This article discusses "Raising the Dead", Writers' Week's ticketed session on Monday night. Guest speakers were Kate Grenville (AUS), Ron Rash (USA), Jenny Erpenbeck (GER), and Javier Cercas (SPA). The session was chaired by David Marr.
Last amended 15 Nov 2017 15:48:07